Professor Björn Benneke is at the forefront of planetary astrophysics. His research focuses on the spectroscopic characterization of a diverse range of exoplanets, from scorching gas giants to potentially habitable Earth-sized worlds, using state-of-the-art observational techniques and theoretical models.
At the helm of significant observational programs, including those involving the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, and Keck observatories, Benneke’s team tackles fundamental questions about planetary formation, composition, atmospheres, and habitability.
Key areas of his research encompass exploring the atmospheres of Earth-like exoplanets, mapping exoplanetary atmospheres with the James Webb Space Telescope, investigating giant planet formation through near-infrared spectroscopy, and identifying prime candidates for future JWST studies through K2, TESS, and ground-based observations.
Beyond his groundbreaking research, Benneke leads the astronomy division at Université de Montréal and actively contributes to the scientific team of iREx. On an international level, he serves as the Canadian co-lead for the JWST Early Release Science Program for Exoplanets. His academic journey took him from MIT, where he earned his PhD under Sara Seager’s guidance, to a postdoctoral fellowship at Caltech, before making significant contributions to planetary astrophysics at Université de Montréal.